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I’ve always been reluctant to list my “favorites”, be it books, films, cars or music. Each book I’ve read (well, the vast majority – even the one I was so disappointed with that I threw it in the trash after 100 pages) has a beauty of its own; some sentiment, a turn of phrase, a character trait that melts my heart or makes my cheeks tingle with the why-have-I-never-thought-of-that, that is somewhere mid-way between awe and jealousy.

I’ve read a lot of books in my life. And I can say, without the shadow of a doubt, that Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is one of the very best books I’ve ever read. I want to say it’s one of the very best books ever written, but my academic background would never allow me to make a statement like that without the facts and the citations to back it up. If you have not read it, do so this fall, before the movie comes out and possibly spoils everything. I’m afraid that it might, because I just can’t see how it will be able to capture the quiet but raging beauty of that book.

Read it curled up on a sofa while sipping hot chai tea. Gaze at the lit candles on the table for long stretches of time while you ponder the last beautiful, true thing you read. Or read it on the bus and smile to yourself or even make a funny sound, and look up and notice strangers watching you and smiling back. Tell them to read it too or tell them about it or dance about it and sing.

When I read it for the first time, two years ago, I woke my boyfriend up five times during the night to read a new favorite passage to him. I could not bear to be the only person to take part of it.

Two of very, very many underlined quotes from this book of books:

“Humans are the only animal that blushes, laughs, has religion, wages war, and kisses with lips.  So in a way, the more you kiss with lips, the more human you are.”


“Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”


Photo by me. Buy the book here.